Chest tumours in dogs

Updated November 21, 2016

In dogs, the term "chest tumour" can refer to any number of tumours occurring in or around the chest cavity. Dogs who display signs of an illness or have unusual new growths should be seen by a trained veterinarian for diagnosis and prompt treatment.


Many pet owners assume that the word "tumour" instantly means a malignant, deadly cancer. Fortunately, this is not true. Not all chest tumours are malignant. Some canine chest tumours are simply unusual, benign growths.


In dogs, there are several types of tumours that can occur in and around the chest cavity. This includes lung tumours, mammary (breast) tumours and mediastinal lymphoma, which arises from lymphatic tissue in the chest cavity.


Symptoms may vary greatly depending on the type of cancer or tumour present. For example, a mammary tumour may only present itself as a lump with no other symptoms, whereas signs of lung cancer can include trouble breathing or chronic coughing.


Chest tumours can be located easily with the use of an X-ray or ultrasound machine. The veterinarian may also need to take a sample of the tumour to determine if it's malignant or benign.


Treatment will vary depending on the severity and location of the chest tumour. Small, scattered tumours in the lungs may not be removed surgically, whereas a tumour located in the mammary gland may be more easily removed. Should the tumour turn out to be malignant, other treatment options include radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

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